Ira J. Waldman Ira J. Waldman

Landowners are turning to ground leases more often. Ground lease structures have increasingly grown in popularity over the past two decades. Private landowners have turned to ground leases as an alternative to selling land sites, particularly in areas with a underutilized land, and as a way to promote public policy agendas, according to Ira J. Waldman, a partner at real estate law firm Cox, Castle & Nicholson. Through ground leases, landowners are able to maintain ownership while also benefiting from development. While ground leases have become more complicated, they can present challenges in the sale or purchase of a property.

Ground leases can be used by both private landowners as well as publicly owned land, but the lease structures vary between the two. “Public entities are more likely to be interested in pursuing public policy goals and exercising development controls over and above what is possible pursuant to their governmental functions, as well as avoiding the political slings and arrows about why the land was sold,” Waldman tells “These include affordable housing, local and veteran hiring, prevailing wage and design and use requirements, such as public parking, day care requirements, bicycle shops, etc. Private landowners are less constrained by public policy goals and more consumed with profitability. So public ground leases by their very nature are more complex than private ground leases as the public policy goals are built into the document structure.”

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.

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